AP US Government and Politics Course Syllabus 2007

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1 General Course Description Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific contemporary examples. It also requires students to familiarize themselves with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute our political system. The major topics to be examined are: - Constitutional Underpinnings - Institutions of National Government of U.S. Government - Public Policy - Political Beliefs and Behaviors - Civil Rights and Civil Liberties - Political Parties, Interest Groups and Mass Media Because this course is the equivalent of a college course and in order for students to perform well on the National AP Exam, students must meet the high expectations for the course and share the responsibility for mastery of the course objectives. This involves the careful reading of the textbook, class participation, cooperation and collaboration, as well as the knowledge and application of current examples of contemporary American politics. Curricular Requirements Summer Public Policy Research Assignment: Students are to research a pre-selected policy initiative. Example: Medicaid Prescription Drug Act of A three to five page wordprocessed paper will be turned in on the first day of class tracking a specific policy initiative through all of the following: U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate President Federal Courts Federal agency charged with implementation of the policy. More than one agency may be responsible for providing regulations or bureaucratic oversight. Please select only one. Two relevant private organizations or interest groups impacted by the policy. Two news organizations, either print or broadcast Public Opinion Democratic Party Republican Party Two state governments Student is to briefly explain how each of these impacted the policy, were impacted by the policy or responded to the policy. Reading: The Edwards text is designed for college and university students. In order to be successful in a course of this type, students need to maximize their time, through proper organization and time management skills. The required reading, along with class discussion, will figure prominently in your formal evaluation. In addition to the survey text, students will be required to read portions of the supplemental readers. 1

2 Group Work: For the purpose of presentations over assigned readings from the reader and class handouts, and certain classroom assignments, students will be placed in groups. Group work is a course requirement. Establishing a positive and cooperative attitude within the group, properly dividing work responsibilities and effective time management has proven to be the key to success in managing the amount of work required for the course. Reading Quizzes: After each group presentation over assigned articles from the Readers or from class handouts, each student in the class will take a 5-question quiz (with the exception of the first reading assignment because there will be no presentation before hand) that addresses the key concepts of the reading. Students will be provided with the questions ahead of time over the readings and may use their notes on the quiz. Class Discussion: Students will be evaluated on class participation and discussion. Be prepared when called upon. Student discussion grades will be daily grades. Required Readings List: Unit I: Introduction to Government In America Edwards text Chapter. 1 Bernard Berelson, Democratic Practice and Democratic Theory in Woll Unit II: Constitutional Foundations and Underpinnings Edwards text Chapters 2 & 3 Declaration of Independence (see Appendix in Edwards) John Locke, Second Treatise of Government selected highlights in Woll Paul Peterson, The Price of Federalism in Enduring Debate United States v. Lopez (1995), class handout Unit III: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Edwards text Chapters 4 & 5 Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment (see Appendix in Edwards) Santa Fe ISD v. Jane Doe (class handout) Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena in Woll Unit IV: Socialization, Parties & Interest Groups Edwards: Chapters 6, 8, & 11 (note order!) Morris Fiorina, The Decline of Collective Responsibility in American Politics, in Enduring Debate David Truman, The Governmental Process, in Woll Unit V: Campaigns, Elections & the Media Edwards Chapters 9, 10 & 7 (again, note order!!) V.O. Key, The Responsible Electorate, in Woll Norman Ornstein, Five Point Reform Plan to Fix Campaign System (class handout) Peggy Ellis, Ten Big Lies about Campaign Finance Reform (class handout) Unit VI: Congress Edwards Chapter 12 Morris Fiorina, The Rise of the Washington Establishment, in Woll Richard Fenno, If Congress is the Broken Branch, Why Do We Love Our Congressman? in Woll 2

3 Required reading list continued Jonathan Cohn, Roll Out the Barrel: The Case Against the Case Against Pork in Enduring Debate Unit VII: The Presidency, Policy Making & the Bureaucracy Edwards Chapters 13, 14 & 15 AlexanderHamilton, Federalist 70, in Woll Peter Woll, Constitutional Democracy and Bureaucratic Power, in Woll Richard Neustadt, The Power to Persuade, in Enduring Debate Unit VIII: The Judiciary Edwards Chapter 16 Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78, in Woll R. Carp, Implementation and Impact of Judicial Decisions (class handout) Unit Assessment: Each unit assessment will attempt to mirror the national exam format as closely as possible. To that end, each unit test will consist of 60 multiple choice questions given in 45 minutes, followed by 2 free response questions in 45 minutes. Unit I will be an exception with 45 multiple choice questions in 45 minutes only. Instructional Materials Text: Government in America: People, Politics and Policy, 10 th edition, 2002, George C. Edwards, Martin P. Wattenberg and Robert L. Lineberry, editors. Readers: Readings and Cases in American Government, 15 th ed. Edited by Peter Woll. The Enduring Debate, 3 rd ed. Edited by David Canon, et al. Course Outline A/B Block Schedule 90 minute periods Unit I Introduction to Political Science Days 1-3 Day 1: Syllabus, reading list, contract due next class Political System introduction Politics matters Homework read Berelson essay begin reading chapter 1 Edwards text Day 2: Berelson quiz Schattsneider and Laswell political models application to two current news stories Power theories notes and discussion Democracy theories notes and discussion Day 3: Unit I Exam (45 question multiple choice) Establish working groups. 3

4 Unit II Constitutional Underpinnings and Federalism Day 4-10 Day 4: Review Unit I exam results Overview of Enlightenment thinkers Compare Dec. of Independence and Locke s 2 nd Treatise Locke group presentation Constitution scavenger hunt homework Begin reading chapters 2 and 3 in Edwards text Day 5: John Locke 2 nd Treatise reading quiz Articles of Confederation comparison in working groups Day 6: Constitutional structure notes and discussion Federalist 10 and 51 notes and discussion Clearing up concerns of anti federalists group assignment Peterson panel assigned Day 7: Federalist vs. anti-federalists group assignment completed Peterson panel discussion on federalism Chickens and the constitution? Commerce clause interpretation notes and discussion. Day 8: Peterson reading quiz Timeline of modern federalism notes civil rights/current interstate commerce clause interpretation Lopez vs. U.S. presentation assigned Day 9: Lopez reading presentation Fiscal federalism/federal money chart types of grants Free response writing practice by looking at released exam material Day 10: Unit II Exam, 60 multiple choice and 2 free response questions Unit III Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Days Day 11: Unit II exam post mortem Federal court decision rules notes and discussion Selective incorporation notes and discussion Introduction to free exercise clause cases Religion in public schools reading assignment homework Begin reading chapter 4 and 5 in Edwards text Day 12: Religion in public schools discussion Establishment clause and free speech cases notes and discussion Santa Fe ISD vs. Doe case brief presentation and class homework assigned Day 13: Santa Fe case brief presentation Search and seizure law notes and discussion Privacy rights penumbras notes and discussion Adarand vs. Pena case assigned 4

5 Day 14: Adarand case brief presentation Affirmative action notes and discussion Does it apply to you? Day 15: Unit III Exam, 60 multiple choice and 2 free response questions Fiorina political party panel questions assigned for next class Political ideology survey homework Unit IV Public Opinion, Political Parties and Interest Groups Days Day 16: Unit III exam post mortem Political socialization and public opinion notes and discussion Graphing political ideology understanding ideological labels Fiorina parties presentation Truman interest group panel questions assigned Begin reading chapters 6, 8 and 11 in that order in Edwards text Day 17: Fiorina parties reading quiz Party structure and why two political parties notes and discussion Truman interest groups panel discussion Party platform assignment homework determining which quote is from Democratic or Republican platforms Day 18: Review party platform labels Truman reading quiz Interest group characteristics, differences & similarities to political parties, success factors and examples notes and discussion Day 19: Unit IV Exam, 60 multiple choice and 2 free response questions Unit V Campaigns, Elections and Media Days Day 20: Unit IV exam post mortem Presidential nomination timeline notes and discussion Primaries vs. caucuses notes and discussion Key campaign reading assigned Begin reading chapters 9, 10 and 7 in that order in Edwards text Day 21: Key campaign presentation electoral college notes and debate: necessary check or constitutional relic? Ornstein-Ellis campaign finance debate assigned Day 22: Key campaign reading quiz Debate between groups Ornstein and Ellis groups over campaign finance proposals Campaign finance top ten notes and discussion Allen J. Lichtman s keys to White House victory homework assigned Day 23: Analyzing voting data in groups writing questions for anther group to answer Assessment of news articles reading assignment straight new, analysis or editorial? 5

6 Day 24: Role of media notes and discussion Continue news article analysis Discussion of Lichtman s keys to victory Day 25: Unit V Exam, 60 multiple choice, 2 free response questions Unit VI Congress Days Day 26: Unit V exam port mortem Congress concepts and organization notes and discussion Congress scavenger hunt homework Fiorina Congressional policy making and Fenno Congressional representation group presentations assigned Begin reading chapter 12 in Edwards text Day 27: Congress scavenger hunt due, go over in class Fiorina Washington Establishment and Fenno Broken Branch presentations Power diffusion in Congress notes & discussion House member election internet research assignment Cohn pork barrel spending reading assigned Day 28: Congress member research assignment du, go over in class, spot patterns in election support Fiorina-Fenno quiz Cohn presentation pork barrel spending discussion Fenno s concept of representation concentric circles graph Day 29: Congress is a Status Quo institution notes & discussion Public policy creation in Congress how Bill of Rights limits policy making in Congress Other congress trivia (discharge petition, committee of the whole, Calendar Wednesday) Day 30: Unit VI Exam, 60 multiple choice, 2 free response questions Unit VII Presidency and Bureaucracy Days Day 31: Unit VI exam post mortem Public policy making chart notes and discussion Constitutional roles & limitations of president Article II and amendments Federalist 70 presentation reading assigned Begin reading chapters 13 and 15 in Edwards text Day 32: Federalist 70 presentation President and congress struggle group work Complete checks on presidential power chart for homework Neustadt presidential persuasion presentation reading assigned 6

7 Day 33: Neustadt presentation Power chart homework due, go over in class John David Barber s defining presidential character notes and discussion Chapter 14 budget outline and questions homework assigned Woll bureaucracy presentation reading assigned Day 34: Chapter 14budget outline due Neustadt quiz Woll bureaucracy presentation Bureaucratic policy making chart notes and discussion Day 35: Unit VII Exam, 60 multiple choice, 2 free response questions Unit VIII Federal Courts Days Day 36: Unit VII exam post mortem Federal and state court comparison Federal courts map review Federal court operation and structure notes and discussion Federalist 78 presentation reading assigned Begin reading chapter 16 in Edwards text Day 37: Federalist 78 presentation Supreme Court operations notes and discussion Judicial decision making notes and discussion Judicial policy making packet reading assigned Federal Courts in the News homework - analysis of current federal courts news event Day 38: Judicial policy making presentation Federal Courts in the News discussion Read and discuss Supreme Court justices biographies Day 39: Unit VIII Federal Courts exam, 60 multiple choice, 2 free response questions Day 40: Unit VIII post mortem Begin AP government and politics national exam review making concepts chart, seeing how course units interconnect 7

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